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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Newfoundland and the Jingoes, by John Fretwell This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
Title: Newfoundland and the Jingoes  An Appeal to England's Honor Author: John Fretwell Release Date: May 3, 2008 [EBook #25264] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK NEWFOUNDLAND AND THE JINGOES ***
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NEWFOUNDLAND AND THE JINGOES
AN APPEAL TO ENGLAND'S HONOR
BY JOHN FRETWELL
BOSTONMASS.: GEOH. ELLIS TORONTO, CANADA: HUNTERROSE& CO. WESTMINSTERENGLAND: ARCHIBALDCONSTABLE& CO.
COPYRIGHT1895BYJOHNFRETWELL. COPYRIGHTED INENGLAND AND THEUNITEDSTATES RIGHT OFTRANSLATION ANDREPUBLICATIONRESERVED
GEO. H. ELLIS, PRINTER, 141 FRANKLIN STREET, BOSTON.
"To be taken into the American Union is to be adopted into a partnership. To belong as a Crown Colony to the British Empire, as things stand, is no partnership at all. "It is to belong to a power which sacrifices, as it has always sacrificed, the interest of its dependencies to its own. The blood runs freely through every vein and artery of the American body corporate. Every single citizen feels his share in the life of his nation. Great Britain leaves her Colonies to take care of themselves, refuses what they ask, and forces on them what they had rather be without. "If I were a West Indian, I should feel that under the stars and stripes I should be safer than I was at present from political experimenting. I should have a market in which to sell my produce where I should be treated as a friend. I should have a power behind me and protecting me, and I should have a future to which I could look forward with confidence. America would restore me to hope and life: Great Britain allows me to sink, contenting herself with advising me to be patient. Why should I continue loyal when my loyalty was so contemptuously valued?"—JAMESANTHONYFROUDE (from "The English in the West Indies," Nov. 15, 1887). "In the United States is Canada's natural market for buying as well as for selling, the market which her productions are always struggling to enter through every opening in the tariff wall, for exclusion from which no distant market either in England or elsewhere can compensate her, the want of which brings on her commercial atrophy, and drives the flower of her youth by thousands and tens of thousands over the line. "The Canadian North-west remains unpeopled while the neighboring States of the Union are peopled, because it is cut off from the continent to which it belongs by a fiscal and political line."—GOLDWIN SMITH in ,, D.C.L. "Questions of the Day," page 159. (Macmillan & Co., London, 1893).
PREFACE.
It would be evidence of gross ignorance, or something worse, to pretend that the United States, under like conditions, would have treated the Newfoundlanders better than England has done. It would be especially so after the humiliating spectacle presented to the world by our Democratic majorities last year in Congress and in the State and city of New York. With material resources superior to those of any other country in the world, we are obliged to appeal to the European money-lender for gold.
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Even the chosen head of our Tory Democracy tells Congress that we must sacrifice $16,000,000 to obtain gold on the terms offered by his Secretary of the Treasury. England's past blunders have been singularly favorable to American interests, when real statesmen were at the helm in Washington. Any strategist can see that, if Lord Palmerston, instead of bullying weak Greece and China, had done justice to Newfoundland, his government might have acquired so strong a position in America as to seriously imperil the preservation of the Union some thirty years ago. That he failed to do his duty was as fortunate for the United States as it was unfortunate for Newfoundland. To-day, but for the emasculating influence of our Tory Democracy, England's blunders in the same island would be profitable to the United States. Even for our small and expensive navy we cannot find sufficient able seamen among our citizens; and the starving fishermen of Newfoundland are just the men we need. But there is no money in the national treasury to pay them; while our ridiculous immigration and suffrage laws exclude the men we need, and enable the scum of Europe to influence our legislation. I trust this tract may suggest to some Englishmen the best way to prevent a repetition of the present distress, and so show the world that, after all, loyalty is sometimes appreciated in imperial circles. The old project of a rapid line of steamers from Bay St. George to Chaleurs Bay, giving England communication via Newfoundland with Montreal in less than five days, has been revived; but the route is closed by winter ice, and too far north for the United States. A better route, open all the year round, is that from Port aux Basques to Neil's Cove, a distance of only fifty-two miles by sea against two hundred and fifty miles from Bay St. George to Paspebiac or Shippegan; and still better is the route via Port aux Basques and Louisbourg, which will soon be connected with the American lines, with a single break of three miles at the Gut of Canso Ferry. With all its faults, British rule has one advantage over that of all other colonial powers: it gives the foreigner, no matter what his faith or nation, exactly the same commercial rights as the British subject; and so, although Newfoundland will lose by the exclusion of its fish from our protected markets, and by the diplomatic inability of the British government to protect it from the effects of French bounties and treaty rights, the enlightened selfishness of the New Englander will find that, "there is money for him" in the development of those resources which have been so singularly neglected by the British capitalists who invest their money in the most rotten schemes that Yankee ingenuity can invent. J.F. Feb. 11, 1895.
AUTHORITIES.
In the following pages I have drawn largely on the well-known works of Hatton and Harvey, Bonnycastle, Pedley, Bishop Howley, and Spearman's article in the Westminster Review 1892, concerning Newfoundland; and, on the general for question, on Froude's "England to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada," Lecky's "History of England in the Eighteenth Century," Blaine's "Twenty Years of Congress," Hansard's Debates, "The Annual Register," McCarthy's "History of our own Times," and the Blue Books of the British government. To the tourist who proposes to visit the island I can recommend Rev. Moses Harvey's "Newfoundland in 1894," published in St. John's, as the best guide to the island. Mr. Harvey has also written an excellent article on the island for Baedeker's "Canada." For the hunter, painter, photographer, angler, yachtsman, or geologist, there is not a more attractive excursion, for from one to three months, along the whole American coast than that through and round Newfoundland. J.F.
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NEWFOUNDLAND AND THE JINGOES. BY JOHN FRETWELL.
The most prominent and able intellectual representative of the money power in the world, the LondonTimes, writes of Newfoundland:— "Even if we were disposed to do so, we cannot in our position as a naval power view with indifference the disaster to, and possibly the ruin of, a colony we may sometimes regard as amongst the most valuable of our naval stations. Neither can we view the position without consideration for the wide-spread suffering that an absolute refusal to grant assistance would entail. It is probable that a cheaper system of administration would retrieve the position without casting an overwhelmingly heavy burden upon the imperial tax-payers. If we interpret public feeling aright, it will be in favor of giving the colony the help that may be found essential; but, if the assistance required takes anything like the radical proportion that at present seems necessary, it can only be granted at a price,—the surrender of the Constitution and the return of Newfoundland to the condition of a crown colony. " While we may safely concede to the editors of theTimes much as "consideration for wide-spread suffering" as to a Jay Gould or a Napoleon, the above-quoted words are significant, because they show that what the ruling powers in England would never concede to charity or justice they will give to self-interest, now that theTimeshas discovered "there is money in it." But to us Americans the words have their lessons also. Newfoundland not only belongs to our Continental system, but it can never be really prosperous until it becomes a State in our Union. What it is to-day, New England might have been, had it not been delivered by the Continental forces, and by the French navy, from the rule of British Tories. And, as a member of our Union, this island, five times the size of Massachusetts, might not only be as prosperous as Rhode Island or Connecticut, but also the chief training ground for our future navy, which, checked by the piracies of the British-built "Alabama," will become in the near future an indispensable necessity of our national existence. Since the English people seem to have taken to heart, far more than his own countrymen have done, the lesson taught by our Captain Mahan in his "Influence of the Sea-power in History," it is well that we should consider the past history of England's relations to that first-born colony which she has so infamously sacrificed, and for whose misfortunes she alone is responsible. The lesson that we may learn from that history is quite as much needed by the American as by the Briton. Edmund R. Spearman, writing in theWestminster Review(Vol. 137, page 403, 1892), says:— "No English Homer has yet risen to tell the tale of Newfoundland, shrouded in mystery and romance, the daring invasion and vicissitudes of those exhaustless fisheries, the battle of life in that seething cauldron of the North Atlantic, where the swelling billows never rest, and the hurricane only slumbers to bring forth the worse dangers of the fog-bank and the iceberg. Fierce as has been during the four centuries the fight for the fisheries by European rivals, their petty racial quarrels sink into insignificance before the general struggle for the harvest. The Atlantic roar hides all minor pipings. The breed of fisher-folk from these deep-sea voyagings consist of the toughest specimens of human endurance. All other dangers which lure men to venture everything for excitement or for fortune, the torrid heat or arctic cold, the battle against man or beast, the desert or the jungle, all land adventures are as nothing compared to the daring of the hourly existence of the heroic souls whose lives are cast upon the banks of Newfoundland. The fishermen may seem wild and reckless, rough and illiterate; but supreme danger and superlative sacrifice breed noble qualities, and beneath the rough exterior of the fisherman you will never fail to find aMAN, and no cheap imitation of the genuine article. None but a man can face for a second time the frown of the North Atlantic, that exhibition of mighty, all-consuming power, beside the sober reality of which all the ecstasies of poets and painters are puny failures. Among these heroes of the sea England's children have always been foremost. We should expect England to be especially proud of such an offspring, familiar with their struggles, and ever heedful of their welfare, lending an ear to their claims or
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complaints above all others. Strange to say, it has always been the exact reverse." Though discovered by John and Sebastian Cabot in 1494, "the twenty-fourth of June at five o'clock in the morning," it was not until ninety years later that the island was formally organized as an English colony (Aug. 5, 1582, by Sir Humphrey Gilbert). The persecutions of Bloody Mary and the massacre of St. Bartholomew had roused the indignation of Englishmen to the highest pitch. They were ready for any risk in open war against France and Spain, but Queen Elizabeth was always trying to shirk responsibility; and so the sea-captains who would avenge the wrongs done to the Protestants were obliged to run the risk of being condemned as pirates. One of them wrote to Queen Elizabeth, Nov. 6, 1577, offering to fit out ships, well armed, for the Banks of Newfoundland, where some twenty-five thousand fishermen went out from France, Spain, and Portugal every summer to catch the food of their Catholic fast days. He proposed to treat these fishermen as the Huguenots of France had been treated,—to bring away the best of their ships, and to burn the rest. Nine days after the date of this letter Francis Drake sailed from Plymouth, commanding a fleet of five ships, equipped by a company of private adventurers, of whom Queen Elizabeth was the largest shareholder. Fortunately, they never committed the horrible crime suggested in that letter. In those five ships, says Froude, lay the germ of Great Britain's ocean empire. In 1585 Sir John Hawkins, who had meanwhile annexed Newfoundland to the English Dominion, proposed again to take a fleet to the Fishing Banks, whither half the sailors of Spain and Portugal went annually to fish for cod. He would destroy them all at one fell swoop, cripple the Spanish marine for years, and leave the galleons to rot in the harbors for want of sailors to man them. Had this been done, Philip of Spain would never have been able to threaten England with his "Invincible Armada." But the brave Englishmen of those days had to deal with a treacherous queen. The Hollanders who had engaged in a desperate struggle that they might have done with lies, and serve God with honesty and sincerity, were willing and eager to be annexed to England, and in union with her would have formed so strong a power as to be able to resist any Continental league against them. But Elizabeth cared more for herself than for her country and her cause, and thus made warlike measures necessary which an Oliver Cromwell would have avoided. Her duplicity may have provoked those republican ideas that were brought by Brewster and the other Pilgrim Fathers to America. Brewster was the friend and companion of Davison, Queen Elizabeth's Secretary of State, who was sent on an embassy to the Netherlands by her; and the contrast between these brave citizens and the treachery of the "good Queen Bess" must have given him a profound sense of the injury done to a great nation by the vices and follies of royalty. The infamous manner in which the queen afterwards used her faithful secretary, Davison, as her scapegoat, and the sycophancy of Sandys, Archbishop of York, at Davison's mock trial, were strong arguments both against royalty and prelacy. Under the cowardly, childish, and pedantic king who succeeded Elizabeth, Newfoundland was the bone of contention between the factions at his court, between Catholics and Protestants, and men who were neither, and men who were both. Among the latter was the gallant Yorkshireman, Sir George Calvert, who was Secretary of State to James, but was compelled to resign his office in 1624, because he became a Catholic. The British and Irish Catholics who came over seem to have been the men who came out to Newfoundland with the most honest intent of any,—to better themselves without injury to others, and to seek there "freedom to worship God" at a time when that freedom was denied in England, both to the Catholic and the Puritan. In 1620 Calvert had bought a patent conveying to him the lordship of all the south-eastern peninsula, which he called Avalon, the ancient name of Glastonbury in England. He proposed to found there an asylum for the persecuted Catholics; and at a little harbor on the eastern shore, just south of Cape Broyle, which he called Verulam, a name since corrupted to Ferryland, he built a noble mansion, and spent altogether some $150,000, a much larger sum in those days than it seems now. But the site was ill chosen; and the imbecility of King James encouraged the French to attack the colony, so that at last Calvert wrote to Burleigh, "I came here to plant and set and sow, but have had to fall to fighting Frenchmen." He went
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home, and in the last year of his life he obtained a grant of land, which is now occupied by the States of Delaware and Maryland; and to its chief city his son gave the name of the wild Irish headland and fishing village, whence he took his own name of Lord Baltimore in the Irish peerage. After Calvert's departure, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland sent out a number of settlers; and in 1638 Sir David Kirke, one of the bravest of England's sea-captains, who had taken Quebec, received from Charles I. a grant of all Newfoundland, and settled at Verulam, or Ferryland, the place founded by Calvert. Under Kirke the colony prospered; but, as he took the part of Charles in the civil war, his possessions were confiscated by the victorious Commonwealth. At that time there were nearly two thousand settlers along the eastern shore of Avalon; and the great Protector, Oliver Cromwell, protected the rights of the Newfoundland settlers as he did those of the Waldensians. After his death came what Mr. Spearman calls the "blots in the English history known as the reigns of Charles II. and his deposed brother." Mr. Spearman continues, "Frenchmen must understand that no Englishman will for a moment accept as a precedent anything in those two reigns affecting the relations of France and of England." But here Mr. Spearman counts without his host. He should recollect that the British government has, since the death of Charles II., paid an annual pension to the Dukes of Richmond simply because they were descended from the Frenchwoman, Louise de la Querouaille, whose influence induced Charles II. to betray English interests to France, and that but the other day the Salisbury government recognized that precedent by paying the Duke of Richmond a very large sum of money to buy off this infamous claim. So long as the names of the Dukes of Richmond and Saint Alban's (both descendant of Charles II.'s mistresses) remain on the roll of the British Peerage, the Frenchman will have a right to laugh at Mr. Spearman's claim; for we cannot ignore a precedent in our intercourse with foreigners, so long as we act upon it in our domestic affairs. Scarcely was Charles the Libertine seated on the throne of England, when the Frenchmen, in 1660, settled on the southern shore of Newfoundland, at a place which they called La Plaisance (now known as Placentia). They were certainly either wiser or more fortunate in their choice of a location than the English; for, while St. John's and Ferryland, on the straight shore of Avalon, are exposed to the wildest gales of the Atlantic, and shut out by the arctic ice from all communication with the ocean for a part of the winter, Placentia is a protected harbor, open all the year round, and having a sheltered waterway navigable for the largest ships to the northernmost and narrowest part of the Isthmus of Avalon. We must believe that the French would have managed Newfoundland better than the English if they had kept the island; for the men who cut the Isthmus of Suez would surely long ago have made a passage, three miles long, by which the ships of Trinity Bay might have found their way at the close of autumn to the safe winter harbors of the southern coast. All along the southern shore the names on the map tell us of French occupation. Port aux Basques, Harbor Breton, Rencontre Bay (called by the English Round Counter), Cape La Hune, Bay d'Espoir, are but a few of them. The name which the English have given to this last is strangely characteristic. The Bay of Hope (Baie d'Espoir) of the French has been changed into the Bay of Despair of the English. It was really a Bay of Hope to the French; for from the head of one of its fiords, deep enough for the largest of our modern ships, an Indian trail goes northwards in less than 100 miles to the fertile valley of the Exploits River. Can we suppose that the French engineers would have allowed 200 years to elapse without building a road along this trail? And yet not a single road was built by the English conquerors before the year 1825; and even to-day, to reach the point where the Indian trail crosses the Exploits, we must travel 260 miles by rail from Placentia or St. John's instead of 100 from Bay d'Espoir, simply because the English holders of property in St. John's, like dogs in the manger, will not permit any improvement in the country, unless it can be made tributary to their special interests. That the English were worse enemies of Newfoundland than the French, even in King Charles's time, may be seen from the advice given by Sir Josiah Child, the chairman of that great monopoly, the East India Company, that the island "was to have no government, nor inhabitants permitted to reside at Newfoundland, nor any passengers or private boat-keepers permitted to fish at Newfoundland." The Lords of the Committee for Trade and Plantations adopted the suggestion
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of Sir Josiah; and in 1676, just a century before the American Declaration of Independence, the west country adventurers began to drive away the resident inhabitants, and to take possession of their houses and fishing stages, and did so much damage in three weeks that Thomas Oxford declared 1,500 men could not make it good. We should be unjust if we were to regard this infamous dishonesty as simply an accident of the Restoration time. Many of my American readers have doubtless heard of an island called Ireland, which is much nearer to England than Newfoundland. Lecky tells us how the English land-owners, always foremost in selfishness, procured the enactment of laws, in 1665 and 1680, absolutely prohibiting the importation into England from Ireland of all cattle, sheep, and swine, of beef, pork, bacon, and mutton, and even of butter and cheese, with the natural result that the French were enabled to procure these provisions at lower prices, and their work of settling their sugar plantations was much facilitated thereby. In the Navigation Act of 1663 Ireland was deprived of all the advantages accorded to English ones, and thus lost her colonial trade; and, after the Revolution, the commercial influence, which then became supreme in the councils of England, was almost as hostile to Ireland as that of the Tory landlords. A Parliament was summoned in Dublin, in 1698, for the express purpose of destroying Irish industry; and a year later the Irish were prohibited from exporting their manufactured wool to any other country whatever. Prohibitive duties were imposed on Irish sail-cloth imported into England. Irish checked, striped, and dyed linens were absolutely excluded from the colonies, and burdened with a duty of 30 per cent. if imported into England. Ireland was not allowed to participate in the bounties granted for the exportation of these descriptions of linen from Great Britain to foreign countries. In 1698, two petitions, from Folkestone and Aldborough, were presented to Parliament, complaining of the injury done to the fishermen of those towns "by the Irish catching herrings at Waterford and Wexford, and sending them to the Straits, and thereby forestalling and ruining petitioners' markets"; and there was even a party in England who desired to prohibit all fisheries on the Irish shore except by boats built and manned by Englishmen. Not only were the Irish prevented from earning money, but they were forced to pay large sums to the mistresses of English kings. Lecky tells us that the Duke of Saint Alban's, the bastard son of Charles II., enjoyed an Irish pension of £800 a year. Catherine Sedley, the mistress of James II., had another of £5,000 a year. William III. bestowed a considerable Irish estate on his mistress, Elizabeth Villiers. The Duchess of Kendall and the Countess of Darlington, two mistresses of the German Protestant George I., had Irish pensions of the united value of £5,000. Lady Walsingham, daughter of the first-named of these mistresses, had an Irish pension of £1,500; and Lady Howe, daughter of the second, had a pension of £500. Madame de Walmoden, mistress of the German Protestant King George II., had an Irish pension of £3,000. This king's sister, the queen dowager of Prussia, Count Bernsdorff, a prominent German politician, and a number of other German names may be found on the Irish pension list. Lecky's description of the Protestant Church of Ireland is just as revolting. Archbishop Bolton wrote, "A true Irish bishop [meaning bishops of English birth and of the Protestant Church] has nothing more to do than to eat, drink, grow fat and rich, and die " . The English primate of Ireland ordained and placed in an Irish living a Hampshire deer-stealer, who had only saved himself from the gallows by turning informer against his comrades. Archbishop King wrote to Addison, "You make nothing in England of ordering us to provide for such and such a man £200 per annum, and, when he has it, by favor of the government, he thinks he may be excused attendance; but you do not consider that such a disposition takes up, perhaps, a tenth part of the diocese, and turns off the cure of ten parishes to one curate." From the very highest appointment to the lowest, in secular and sacred things, all departments of administration in Ireland were given over as a prey to rapacious jobbers. Charles Lucas, M.P. for Dublin, wrote in 1761 to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, "Your excellency will often find the most infamous of men, the very outcasts of Britain, put into the highest employments or loaded with exorbitant pensions; while all that ministered and gave sanction to the most shameful and destructive measures of such viceroys never failed of an ample share in the spoils of a plundered people. " Arthur Young, in 1779, estimated the rents of absentee landlords alone at £732,000; and Hutchinson, in the same year, stated that the sums remitted from Ireland to Great Britain for rents, interest of money, pensions, salaries, and profit
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of offices amounted, on the lowest computation (from 1668 to 1773), to £1,110,000 yearly. If, in treating of Newfoundland, I have made many extracts from Mr. Lecky's references to Ireland, it is in order that I may show Mr. Spearman the danger of laying too much stress on the French claims as the cause of the present distress in England's oldest colony. France had no claims in Ireland, and yet the conduct of the British government and the British tradesman to that unfortunate island is one of the blackest infamies of the eighteenth century. Mr. Lecky says in Chapter V., page 11, of his history: "To a sagacious observer of colonial politics two facts were becoming evident. The one was that the deliberate and malignant selfishness of English commercial legislation was digging a chasm between the mother country and the colonies which must inevitably, when the latter had become sufficiently strong, lead to separation. The other was that the presence of the French in Canada was an essential condition of the maintenance of the British empire in America." If Mr. Lecky had studied Newfoundland's history, he might have added a third fact; namely, that the French claims in Newfoundland have been for the Jingoes of the last half-century a convenient means of excuse for shirking their own responsibility to the unfortunate island, and for covering up the malignant selfishness of those tradesmen in Canada and England to whose private interests the island has been sacrificed by the government. It is interesting to observe how, at the time of the Peace of Utrecht, on Article XIII. of which the modern claims of France are based, the conditions were similar to those of Tory intrigue to-day. King Louis of France, encouraged by the momentary supremacy of the Tories in England, had insulted the English people by recognizing the Pretender as King of England. The popular indignation roused by this insult enabled King William, by dissolving Parliament, to overthrow the Tory power, and obtain a large majority pledged to war with France. The Whigs carried this war to a victorious conclusion; but, most unfortunately for both England and its colonies, Abigail Masham, by her influence over the queen, secured the overthrow of the Whigs. And her cousin Harley, a Tory, became Chancellor of the Exchequer, thus permitting the Tories to reap the fruits of Whig victories. In reference to the conclusion of the peace with France Lecky says, "The tortuous proceedings that terminated in the Peace of Utrecht form, beyond all question, one of the most shameful pages in English history." The greatest of England's generals was removed from the head of the army, and replaced by a Tory of no military ability. The allies of England were most basely deserted; and a clause was inserted in the treaty respecting Newfoundland to the following effect:— "But it is allowed to the subjects of France to practise fishing and to dry fish on land in that part only which stretches from the place called Bonavista to the Northern Point of the said Island, and from thence, running down by the Western Side, reaches as far as the place called Point Riche." What compensation was given by France in return for this right to catch and dry fish on a part of the Newfoundland shore? That was the immense accession of guilty wealth acquired by the Assiento Treaty, by which England obtained the monopoly of the slave-trade to the Spanish colonies. In the one hundred and six years from 1680 to 1786 England sent 2,130,000 slaves to America and the West Indies. On this point Lecky writes: "It may not be uninteresting to observe that, among the few parts of the Peace of Utrecht which appear to have given unqualified satisfaction at home, was the Assiento contract, which made of England the great slave-trader of the world.The last prelate who took a leading part in English politics affixed his signature to the treaty. A Te Deum, composed by Handel, was sung in thanksgiving in the churches. Theological passions had been recently more vehemently aroused; and theological controversies had for some years acquired a wider and more absorbing interest in England than in any period since the Commonwealth. But it does not yet appear to have occurred to any class that a national policy, which made it its main object to encourage the kidnapping of tens of thousands of negroes, and their consignment to the most miserable slavery, might be at least as inconsistent with the spirit of the Christian religion as either the establishment of Presbyterianism or the toleration of prelacy in
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Scotland." Is it not characteristic that, just as the Tories of Queen Anne's time were willing to prejudice the rights of a colony in return for the infamous profits of the slave-trade, so the Tory of 1862, Lord Robert Cecil, was among the chief Englishmen who sympathized with the slaveholders who were then attacking the American Union? It is equally characteristic that this first of the Primrose Dames, Abigail Masham, quarrelled with her cousin Harley about the share which this lady of High Church principles was to receive out of the profits of the infamous trade. Surely, the country that made so much profit out of the slave-trade is bound to compensate Newfoundland for the losses caused by its weakness in the French shore question rather than that France which in 1713 abandoned the infamous traffic to the British Tories. The next treaty between France and England, that of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748, made no alteration in the Newfoundland question; but the government of England, in returning Louisbourg to the French, gave another of those proofs of the selfish indifference of the home government to the rights of the colonies which was one of the most potent causes that led the New Englanders, with the aid of France, to achieve their independence. At the south-eastern extremity of Cape Breton Island the strong fortress of Louisbourg, which it was once the fashion to call the Gibraltar of America, threatened the safety of the New England and Newfoundland fisheries alike. Governor Shirley of Massachusetts induced the legislature to undertake an expedition against this fortress, and intrusted its command to Colonel William Pepperell. The New England forces, raw troops, commanded by untrained officers, astonished the world by capturing a fortress which was deemed impregnable. This was the most brilliant and decisive achievement of nine years of otherwise useless bloodshed and treachery. It is well that the people of the United States propose to celebrate its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary this year; for, more than any other event in their colonial history, it gave them confidence in the power of untrained men of spirit to overcome the hireling soldiers of the European governments. But the action of the British government at the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in restoring this fortress to the French, gave the colonists an equally necessary lesson. What did England get in exchange? The already mentioned Assiento, that famous compact which gave to England the right to ship slaves to the Spanish colonies, was confirmed for the four years it still had to run; and the fortress of Madras, which had been taken by the French in 1746, was restored to England in 1748 by the treaty. Even the most selfish and heartless of British politicians may doubt whether the true interests of his country were served by abandoning the American fortress for that of India; but the American statesman will not fail to see in the conduct of England towards her American colonists in this transaction a justification not alone for the Declaration of Independence, but also for that Monroe doctrine which, in its fullest application, will prevent the interference of any European power in the affairs of any part of America, not excluding Newfoundland. The Treaty of Paris, in 1763, which made Great Britain practically master of North America, produced no change in the position of the 13,000 settlers then in Newfoundland. For them the London government cared nothing. The provisions of the treaty, by which France gave up Canada to England, only served to emphasize more strongly the injustice done by England to her Catholic population, both in Ireland and in Newfoundland. In 1719 the Irish Privy Council, all tools of England; actually proposed to the London government that every unregistered priest or friar remaining in Ireland after the 1st of May, 1720, should be castrated; and, although the English ministers did not accept this suggestion, they adopted one that such priests should have a large P branded with a red-hot iron on their cheeks. It can be hardly wondered at that the more honest Irishmen sought refuge from such infamies either in foreign service or in the colonies; and many of them came to Newfoundland, only to find that the Church of England spirit of persecution was rampant there also. Every government official was obliged to abjure the special tenets of Catholicism. In 1755 Governor Darrell commanded all masters of vessels who brought out Irish passengers to carry them back at the close of the fishing season. A special tax was levied on Roman Catholics, and the celebration of mass was made a penal offence. At Harbor Main, Sept. 25, 1755, the magistrates were ordered to fine a certain man £50 because he had allowed a priest to celebrate mass in one of his fishing-rooms. The room was ordered to be demolished, and the owner to sell his ossessions and uit the harbor. Another who was resent at
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the same mass was fined £20, and his house and stage destroyed by fire. Other Catholics who had not been present, were fined £10 each, and ordered to leave the settlement. These infamies were not altered until the Tory government was humiliated by the victory of the United States and their allies. But even then the Newfoundland settlers were taught that England treats her loyal colonist more harshly than the possible rebel. The Newfoundland settlers, Catholic or Protestant, had proved the most loyal men in the colony. When the French, under D'Iberville, captured St. John's, and all Newfoundland lay at their feet, the solitary exception was the little Island of Carbonear in Conception Bay, where the persecuted settler John Pynn and his gallant band still held aloft the British flag. In 1704-5 St. John's was again laid waste by the French, under Subercase; and, although Colonel Moody successfully defended the fort, the town was burned, and all the settlements about Conception Bay were raided by the French and their Indian allies. But Pynn and Davis bravely and successfully defended their island Gibraltar in Conception Bay. In 1708 Saint Ovide surprised and captured St. John's, but again old John Pynn held the fort at Carbonear. In the American War one of Pynn's descendants, a clerk at Harbor Grace, raised a company of grenadiers from Conception Bay; and they fought with such success in Canada that he was knighted as Sir Henry Pynn, and raised to the rank of general. But the selfish government at home cared nothing for Newfoundland. The first Congress of the United States, Sept. 5, 1774, forbade all exports to the British possessions. This would not have hurt Newfoundland if the settlers had been allowed to carry on agricultural pursuits there. But these had always been discouraged by the English; and so they were dependent on the New England States for their supplies, and were threatened with absolute famine as soon as the war broke out. Had they been disloyal, they might have gained their rights from England; but their very loyalty to such a government was their worst misfortune. Even in 1783 the Englishman had not learned the evil results of permitting royal interference in British politics. It is not merely in the reigns of the libertine kings that we see this. Queen Elizabeth injured England by interfering with the policy of its wisest statesmen. The ascendency of Harley and Saint John Bolingbroke, who deserted England's allies and threw away the fruits of Marlborough's victories, was due to the influence of a High Church waiting-woman over Queen Anne; and now, when even Lord North, to say nothing of the better class of Englishmen, disapproved of George III.'s obstinate resistance to the just claims of the American colonies, the support given to the king by the Tories led to the loss of a dominion far more valuable to England than all the trade of India or China. He was obliged to call on a Liberal minister to undo, as far as possible, the evil done by himself and the Tories, just as in later days Mr. Gladstone had to settle with the United States the damage done by the Tories in the "Alabama" question. The death of Rockingham left the direction of the negotiations with France and the United States in the hands of Lord Shelburne; and that he was extremely liberal in his arrangements with both countries was not to be wondered at. The wrong had been done by England; and the innocent English had to suffer, as well as the guilty ones. Unfortunately for Newfoundland, Shelburne did not cede this island to the United States; and so it had to bear more than its share in the misfortunes which the policy of King George had brought upon the British empire. Mr. Spearman (page 411) writes that "Adams, the United States envoy, himself bred up among the New England fishermen, said 'he would fight the war all over again' rather than give up the ancestral right of the New Englanders to the Newfoundland fisheries"; but that Shelburne should be able, when France and America were victorious, to take away from the former power the concessions made to it by the Tories in 1713 and in 1763 was not to be expected. There was a slight alteration in the shore line on which the French might fish. They abandoned that right between Cape Bonavista and Cape St. John, in consideration of being allowed to catch and dry their fish along the shore between Point Riche and Cape Ray. That was all; and that is precisely the reason why the Beaconsfield-Salisbury cabinet, in 1878, refused their sanction to the Bay St. George Railroad. The only advantage that the poor Newfoundlanders gained from the war which caused them so much distress was the fact that the English government was whipped conceding to their Roman Catholic population some of the rights into which for many years afterwards it obstinately withheld from their brethren in Ireland.
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In 1784 Vice-Admiral John Campbell, a man of liberal, enlightened spirit, was appointed governor, and issued an order that all persons inhabiting the island were to have full liberty of conscience, and the free exercise of all such modes of religious worshipas were not prohibited by law. In the same year the Rev. Dr. O'Donnell came out to Newfoundland as its prefect apostolic. But the liberal movement did not last long. Lord Shelburne retired, and from 1784 till the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832 the Tories mismanaged the affairs of Great Britain and her colonies. One great advantage of American independence was that it gave the world a fair chance of judging between the results of republican and royal government in colonial affairs. We have certainly much that is rotten in the United States; but, when we compare our republic at its worst with British colonial administration, we can find good reason to be thankful for the crowning mercy of 1781, when Washington, Lafayette, and De Grasse gained their decisive victory over the troops of King George. I will not now refer to England's use of her immense power in India, China, and Japan. As I watched the course of the Congress of Religions at Chicago in 1893, I could not help thinking that the impressions taken from that Congress by our Oriental visitors would bear fruit that in due course may teach even his Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury, something about England's criminal neglect of Christian duty to these people. For us it is enough to compare our position with that of the two unfortunate islands nearer our own shores, Ireland and Newfoundland. Suppose we had been cursed with the rule of British Tories since 1783, is it likely that our condition would have been better than that of these islands? Even such small instalments of justice as Mr. Gladstone has been able to secure through his splendid fight for "justice to Ireland" are due far more to the pressure exercised on England by the Irish in America than to British sense of right. Poor Newfoundland has had no Ireland in America to help her. She has been among the most loyal of England's colonies, and because of her loyalty she has been the most shamefully treated. It might be expected that Irish Catholics would emigrate in large numbers to Newfoundland to escape the infamous penal laws by which King George oppressed them in Ireland, and that sailors from all parts of Great Britain would seek there a shelter from the press-gangs at home. Dr. O'Donnell, the first regularly authorized Catholic priest on the island, applied in 1790 for leave to build a chapel in an outport; and, the Tories being in power, Governor Milbanke replied: "The Governor acquaints Mr. O'Donnell [omitting the title of Rev.] that, so far from being disposed to allow of an increase of places of religious worship for the Roman Catholics of the island, he very seriously intends next year to lay those established already under particular restrictions. Mr. O'Donnell must be aware that it is not the interest of Great Britain to encourage people to winter in Newfoundland; and he cannot be ignorant that many of the lower order who would now stay would, if it were not for the convenience with which they obtain absolution here, go home for it, at least once in two or three years. And the Governor has been misinformed, if Mr. O'Donnell, instead of advising his hearers to return to Ireland, does not rather encourage them to winter in this country. On board the 'Salisbury,' Nov. 2, 1790." Do we need clearer proofs than that to show us who is responsible for the misery both of Newfoundland and of Ireland? This Catholic priest, to whom the Tory governor refuses both his religious rights and the titles given him by his church and university, knew how to return good for evil. In 1800 a mutinous plot was concocted among the soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment to desert with their arms, and, being joined by their friends outside, to plunder St. John's, and afterwards escape to the United States. Fortunately, Dr. O'Donnell, who had meanwhile become bishop of St. John's, discovered the plot, and not only warned the commanding officer, but exerted all his own influence among the Catholics of the town to prevent outbreak. The British government gave him the miserable pension of £50 a year, while they pay one of £6,000 a year to the Duke of Richmond, for no better reason than that he was descended from the bastard son of that Louise de la Querouaille who was the French mistress of King Charles II. Chief Justice Reeves had been sent out from England to report on the condition of the country; and his "History of the Government of Newfoundland" shows that the ascendency so long maintained by a mercantile monopoly for narrow and selfish ur ose had revented the settlement of the countr , the develo ment of its
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